Honours Seminars: Expanded descriptions Fall 2013, Winter 2014, and Spring 2014

Enrolment in honours seminars

Definitions of requisites for enrolment:

  • Antirequisite: When two courses are listed as antirequisites, this means that there is too much overlap between the two courses to allow credit towards the degree for both courses.
  • Corequisite: A course that is named as a corequisite for another course must be taken before or at the same time as the course for which it is listed as the corequisite.
  • Prerequisite: A course that must be successfully completed before taking the current requested course.

Prior to enrolment in honours seminars:

  • see priority enrolment for honours seminars, and
  • review the listing below of honours seminars for the coming year including expanded course descriptions and requisites for enrolment.

PSYCH 420 (Winter 2014)
Honours seminar topic: An introduction to methods in computational neuroscience

Instructor: Britt Anderson

See the PSYCH 420 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded course description

Computational neuroscience uses mathematical and computational methods  to develop, explore, and test theories and models in neuroscience.

Intended audience for this course: students with computational training, but limited knowledge of neuroscience and psychology, or students from psychology with limited computational or mathematical training.

This course is intended to give students from both backgrounds an introduction to the computational material and how they can be used to address psychological and neuroscience topics.  The course involves a gentle series of computational and programming exercises. To make the exercises accessible for those with no programming background, spreadsheets are used. Students comfortable with computer programming can use the language of their choice for the exercises. If you want more detail regarding the level of difficulty of PSYCH 420, please see student comments provided below as well as contact the instructor.

The majority of the course grade comes from a final presentation in an area of psychology or neuroscience, selected by the student, that makes use of a computational method.

Requirements for enrolment

  • Prerequisites: Level at least 3A Honours Psychology students or permission of instructor.
  • Antirequisite: PSYCH 463 taken Winter 2009 and Winter 2010

Student comments regarding PSYCH 420

This course is not as scary as it sounds! I do not know any computer  languages nor did I take any math courses in university, but Dr. Anderson was extremely helpful in making sure everyone understood the concepts. I took this course only because Dr. Anderson was teaching it. He is always willing to help and is able to communicate very complicated material in a way that non-math students can understand. The material of the course also gave me a completely different perspective and approach to psychology research not taught in other courses.
- Cynthia (Winter 2009)

This course is great for people of different experience levels, from those with no programming or math background to those who have dabbled in them before. Dr. Anderson tailors the course to individual experience levels and provides an excellent mix of lecture, discussion and hands on experience. He also makes sure to be available to aid students with conceptual or programming questions. The course material is presented in a very straightforward and easy to understand manner. I would highly recommend this course for students who have an interest in the area but are uncertain of exactly what it is or how they can be involved in it.
- Neethan (Winter 2010)

"The true benefit of PSYCH 420 is exposing students to the different ways of thinking present in modern neuroscience. Those in psychology and biology are exposed to methods of quantification and computation which have exploded, in the last couple of decades, in the theoretical neuroscience field. Those in computer science and mathematics are given an informative introduction on scientific concepts and experimental results. All of this is gently introduced, and students are permitted to use Excel to complete all the assignments. However, Britt (and I) encourage students to start to learning, or relearning, that programming language that they have been putting off. I also thoroughly enjoyed the historical lessons in the course, such as those on cell pioneers Hodgkin and Huxley. The textbook being written by Professor Anderson is an excellent supplement (and extension) to the course material."
Lawrence
(Winter 2013)

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PSYCH 453 (Fall 2013)
Honours seminar in developmental psychology
Specific topic: Language and social disadvantage

Instructor: Daniela O'Neill

Enrolment limit: 25

See the PSYCH 453 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded course description

What factors impact children’s language development, both positively and negatively, among children growing up in more socially and economically disadvantaged situations?

The issue of accounting for differences in early language ability observed among children is extremely complex. Whether the differences noted in research studies are best interpreted as individual differences, differences in styles of talk, differences in parental attitudes and beliefs, and/or differences due to socio-economic deprivation has provoked much debate. However, the issue of why some children are far behind other children with respect to language development, particularly upon the age of school entry, is of great importance in many countries around the world who seek to assure that all children receive the best start they can and develop to their full potential, especially with respect to educational attainment.

Topics will include:

  • seminal and recent work investigating child and parent-child interactions in different socio-economic and cultural groups;
  • examination of variables such as maternal education level and socio-economic status;
  • discussion of different theoretical approaches to explain variability observed among children; and
  • possible differences between the language of home and school.  

Requirements for enrolment

  • Prerequisites: all of PSYCH 211, 291, 292; enrolment in Honours Psychology or Make-up Psychology.
  • Corequisite: PSYCH 391

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PSYCH 455 sec 1 (Fall 2013)
Honours seminar in social psychology
Specific topic: Social and personality influences on close relationships

Instructor: Joanne Wood

Enrolment limit: 25

See the PSYCH 455 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded course description

The topic title will show as "Topics in close relationships" on the Schedule of Classes and the official transcript.

This seminar will cover both personality (e.g., agreeableness, self-esteem) and social psychological influences on interpersonal interactions and close relationships. We will take an in-depth look at theories and research on these topics.

Activities will include evaluating journal articles, leading class discussions, making presentations, and writing papers.

Requirements for enrolment

  • Prerequisites: all of PSYCH 253 (or 220R), 291, 292; enrolment in Honours Psychology or Make-up Psychology.
  • Corequisite:  PSYCH 391

Antirequisites for enrolment

Only 1 of the following courses is allowed for credit towards the degree:

  • PSYCH 455 (Close Relationships) - instructor Joanne Wood
  • PSYCH 455 (Close Relationships) - instructor John Rempel
  • PSYCH 450R (Close Relationships) - instructor Denise Marigold
  • PSYCH 448R (Close Relationships) - first offering possibly Winter 2015 and priority enrolment Social Development Studies students.

PSYCH 354 (Close Relationships) is not antirequisite to PSYCH 455 (Joanne Wood or John Rempel) or visa versa.

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PSYCH 455 sec 2 (Fall 2013)
Honours seminar in social psychology
Specific topic: Human aggression

Instructor: Richard Ennis

Enrolment limit: 25

See the PSYCH 455 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded course description

This seminar will explore the causes, consequences, and control of human aggression. Social issues such as sexual aggression, media influences, terrorism, domestic violence, and workplace violence will be examined as well as methods of controlling and deterring aggression.

Group and individual projects will be required.

Requirements for enrolment

  • Prerequisites: all of PSYCH 253 (or 220R), 291, 292, 391; enrolment in Honours Psychology or Make-up Psychology.
  • Corequisite:  PSYCH 391

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PSYCH 457 (Fall 2013)
Honours seminar in personality and clinical psychology
Specific topic: Anxiety disorders

Instructor: Andrea-lee Nelson

Enrolment limit: 25

See the PSYCH 457 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded course description

This course will examine current research on the phenomenology, development, and persistence of anxiety disorders, as understood from a cognitive/learning perspective. We will first look at general learning and cognitive processes in anxiety, with a particular focus on attention. We will then examine the phenomenology of specific anxiety disorders including:

  • panic disorder,
  • generalized anxiety disorder,
  • social Phobia,
  •  obsessive-compulsive disorder, and
  • post-traumatic stress disorder,

as well as models for their development and persistence. Treatment will be mentioned in class but will not be a primary focus of the course.

Requirements for enrolment

  • Prerequisites: all of PSYCH 257 (or 323R), 291, 292; enrolment in Honours Psychology or Make-up Psychology.
  • Corequisite:  PSYCH 391

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PSYCH 458 (Fall 2013)
Honours seminar in cognition
Specific topic: Psychology of economic decisions

Instructor: Derek Koehler

Enrolment limit: 25

See the PSYCH 458 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded course description

Throughout our lives we are faced with difficult economic decisions, both major (selecting a pension plan) and minor (buying a new television). How do people make such decisions, and are there ways in which their decisions could be improved? Psychologists and economists have developed an increasingly sophisticated and influential depiction of the processes by which people make choices under conditions of uncertainty and conflicting objectives.

This seminar provides a survey of recent research on the psychology of economic decision making, with an emphasis on the ways in which people's financial decisions systematically deviate from those expected under a 'rational', economic analysis. We will attempt to understand, among other things:

  • why cab drivers quit earlier on profitable than on unprofitable days,
  • why the stocks that investors sell from their portfolio outperform those that they retain, and
  • how seemingly small changes to a pension plan can have big effects on how much employees save for retirement.

Requirements for enrolment

  • Prerequisites: all of PSYCH 207, 291, 292; enrolment in Honours Psychology or Make-up Psychology
  • Corequisite: PSYCH 391

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PSYCH 458 (Winter 2014)
Honours seminar in cognition
Specific topic: Hot topics in cognition and cognitive neuropsychology

Instructor: Derek Besner

Enrolment limit: 25

See the PSYCH 458 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded course description

We will examine in some detail a relatively small number of papers that span a variety of topics in cognitive psychology and cognitive neuropsychology with the aim of illustrating some fascinating (and sometimes bizarre) phenomena which in fact can often be understood in simple terms. These include but are not limited to:

  • the relation between Capgras syndrome (in which the patient insists someone close to them [such as a spouse] is an imposter), and prosopagnosia (a face recognition deficit),
  • the most important and recently published paper in the last 100 years on a particular form of acquired alexia termed "alexia without agraphia",
  • anosognosia (in one form a patient who is paralyzed on one side denies that her arm belongs to her),
  • hypnosis phenomena which challenge a long standing and central idea in cognitive psychology.

Requirements for enrolment:

  • Prerequisites: PSYCH 207, 291, 292; enrolment in Honours Psychology or Make-up Psychology.
  • Corequisite: PSYCH 391 (Note: Must take PSYCH 391 before PSYCH 458 Winter 2014 because PSYCH 391 is not offered Winter 2014.)

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PSYCH 462 (Spring 2014)
Honours seminar in i
ndustrial/organizational psychology
Specific topic: Work motivation

Instructor: James Beck

Enrolment limit: 25

See the PSYCH 462 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded course description

The overarching theme of this seminar is the pursuit of goals over time. This will include defining what goals are, exploring where goals come from, and understanding how people make decisions about allocating finite resources like time and energy across multiple, competing goals.

During the term we will discuss individual differences, non-conscious processes, and emotions that are relevant during goal pursuit.

Finally, we will pay special attention to ways goal pursuit can go awry and ways to avoid self-regulatory failures.

Requirements for enrolment:

  • Prerequisites: PSYCH 291, 292; 1 of PSYCH 338 or MSCI 211 or AFM 280; enrolment in Honours Psychology or Make-Up Psychology.
  • Corequisite: PSYCH 391 (Note: Must take PSYCH 391 before PSYCH 462 Spring 2014 because PSYCH 391 is not offered Winter/Spring 2014.)

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PSYCH 463 sec 1 (Winter 2014)
Honours Seminar in special topics
Specific topic: Community based research

Instructor: Kathleen Bloom

Enrolment limit: 26

See the PSYCH 463 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded course description

PSYCH 463 Winter 2014 will be 'heldwith' PSYCH 363 Winter 2014.

More than ever, community organizations are being asked by those who fund and use social, health, and psychological services to demonstrate that their policies and programs are based on good research evidence. Community organizations need trustworthy reports that demonstrate 'what the research says' about best practices for serving the needs of society.

PSYCH 463 will be held with PSYCH 363. This course requires active learning as well as collaboration among participants. Materials, assignments, and evaluations of students will differ to some degree depending on the course enrolment (PSYCH 363 versus PSYCH 463).

Objectives for this course:

  • learn the skills of finding, evaluating, and synthesizing relevant research using state-of-the-art systematic methods.
  • with the mentorship of government and community leaders, learn how to communicate in ways that make research summaries useful beyond academia.
  • gain skills that can prepare you for successful careers in the new field of knowledge mobilization.
  • if preparing for an academic career, learn to create research proposals that attract the interest and support of faculty, scholarship committees, and community partnerships.

For an example of course requirements from an earlier offering of this course, go to course content for the course outlines for PSYCH 463/363 from Winter 2013.

Requirements for enrolment

  • Prerequisites: PSYCH 291, 292, and enrolment in Honours Psychology or Make-Up Psychology
  • Corequisite: PSYCH 391 (Note: Must take PSYCH 391 before PSYCH 463 Winter 2014 because PSYCH 391 is not offered Winter 2014.)

For those who do not meet those prerequisites, go to PSYCH 363 Winter 2014.

Antirequisites for enrolment

You may not enrol in PSYCH 363/463 Winter 2014 if you have taken any of the following:

  • PSYCH 463 (Topic: Knowledge Transfer) Winter 2011
  • PSYCH 463 (Topic: Community-Based Research) Winter 2013
  • PSYCH 363 (Topic: Community-Based Research) Winter 2013.

If you take PSYCH 363/463 Winter 2014 do not enrol in future offerings of PSYCH 363/463 with Kathleen Bloom if the topic is Community-Based Research, Knowledge Mobilization, or Knowledge Transfer.

Testimonials regarding Psych 463/363 (Community-Based Research)

From student A.J. Orena regarding Psych 463/363 Winter 2011:

This is a great course for students who want to learn about how research impacts our community. It's a unique course in that you get to work closely with several stakeholders from the community (with the help of Dr. Bloom) on a project that will be of actual value to them. During our term, we were able to meet with our stakeholders and they told us about their experiences working with children with disabilities and what kind of services are being provided to them. It was very enlightening; the course really shape my views on research and its importance to society. This course is also a great resume builder - you will get plenty of opportunities to strengthen your skills in literature search, writing to an audience, team work, discussions. Dr. Bloom is a great mentor on the topic of knowledge mobilization, and can provide you with very helpful information about careers in research, knowledge transfer, and community work. I personally enjoyed the course, and have taken many good things from it that continue to be helpful to me as a graduate student.

From Lorna Montgomery (Manager at Infant and Child Development Services – Peel Region) regarding the positive applied outcomes of the course projects in PSYCH 463/363 Winter 2013:

I use the ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) information every time I have a clinic and a client wants to talk with me about their options other than medication for ADHD. I have a colleague, whose son with ADHD had an opportunity to be enrolled in a class in which they start the day by running up to 4 km. She had asked me what I had thought. I told her that it looked good, on the basis of what your students had told us, she enrolled him, and she says that 3 months later, he can run 4 km, is full of pride about that, and, his ability to focus his attention has increased dramatically. She is ecstatic, the kid feels better about himself and the whole family functions better, she tells me. There is the first anecdotal feedback (on the students’ course project).

Course enrolment for PSYCH 463 sec 1

Please enrol during Course Selection Week for Winter 2014 (June 17-23, 2013 or September 23-October 6).

Thereafter, you cannot self-enrol for PSYCH 463 on Quest because this is a 'special topics' course. Enrolment requests after October 6 must be submitted by email to Heather Smith. Please include your full name, student identification number, and 'PSYCH 463 sec 1' in the body of the message, and your last name and 'PSYCH 463 sec 1' in the subject line of the message.

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PSYCH 463 sec 2 (Winter 2014)
Honours seminar in special topics
Specific topic: Child and adolescent psychopathology

Instructor: Maureen Drysdale

Enrolment Limit: 25

See the PSYCH 463 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded course description

This seminar will address current issues in child and adolescent psychopathology including:

  • adolescent psychosis,
  • anxiety disorders,
  • mood disorders,
  • Tourette’s Syndrome,
  • conduct disorder,
  • eating disorders, and
  • other severe behavioural problems.

Special emphasis will be placed on the theories and scientific research concerning social-emotional functioning, current diagnostic systems, therapeutic techniques, and the social and cultural contexts in which childhood disorders occur. We will also address the challenges and barriers encountered when raising and teaching children and adolescents with a mental illness.

Assessments will include a written assignment, an oral presentation, and class discussions.

Requirements for enrolment 

  • Prerequisites: PSYCH 291, 292; PSYCH 317 or 336; enrolment in Honours Psychology or Make-Up Psychology.
  • Corequisite: PSYCH 391 (Note: Must take PSYCH 391 before PSYCH 463 Winter 2014 because PSYCH 391 is not offered Winter 2014.)

Course enrolment for PSYCH 463 sec 2

Please enrol during Course Selection Week for Winter 2014 (June 17-23, 2013 or September 23-October 6). 

Thereafter you cannot self-enrol for PSYCH 463 on Quest because this is a 'special topics' course. Enrolment requests after October 6 must be submitted by email to Heather Smith. Please include your full name, student identification number, and 'PSYCH 463 sec 2' in the body of the message, and your last name and 'PSYCH 463 sec 2' in the subject line of the message.

PSYCH 485 (available Fall 2013/Winter 2014/Spring 2014)
Directed studies: Honours seminar

Psych 485 description and application form for enrolment

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Last updated February 28, 2014